From Christine: Before Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida it ripped through the Caribbean at Hurricane Category 5 force. The island of St. Martin, which was my home for the past 6 months, was directly in its path. Irma destroyed 95% of this beautiful land. Most of the village where I lived was obliterated. What remains, they tried to protect from looters.
The morning of the storm, my friend Tina and I found shelter at a friend’s concrete home. We are all lucky to be alive. The storm and the next five days that followed were sheer panic, survival and fear. My brain is only now beginning to allow it. Two days ago we were evacuated by a helicopter arranged by friends to get to another island. The French and Dutch military have taken over to create some order as the island was lost and desperation was rising. I was able to take my computer and some basics (passport, toothbrush, underwear, a few pieces of clothing), but had to leave everything else behind. What our friends don’t have, Mother Nature will take.
I will not share the details as they are still inconceivable to me. Thanks to good friends and a concrete house, I am alive.
How to heal, how to help, how to create again.
I need time first to heal. I can do nothing else, it seems. The storm took most everything most people had. As for me, I am trying to find my spirit again.
It is so hard for me to ask for help. It makes me so uncomfortable. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I am alive. I did not lose any family members. I was not injured.
But right now, I am asking for help. I am asking to help cover my expenses for the next few months as I regroup, heal, and recover. I cannot do any healing work on anyone in my present state. What will be born from all of this, I do not know. But that island was home in my bones. And I would love to help build her again. First, I have to build me.
Even if you choose not to contribute financially, your awareness and care for all those affected will create phenomenal miracles.
As a final note: I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and kind messages. At the moment I don't have the energy to respond to each of you personally as I am slowly regaining my emotional equilibrium. Please know your thoughts, prayers, and kind words mean the world to me and in time I will respond to each of you personally.
From Gene: GoFundMe is asking everyone who is doing campaigns around the Hurricanes to include some extra information to ensure there is no fraud. I'm glad they are doing it, so we all know we can trust the system.
Here is the information they are asking be added:
1) My name Gene Monterastelli and I live in Brooklyn NY.
2) Christine is one my dearest friends from college and she asked to manage the campaign because she didn't have the ability to do it from where she is right now.
3) The funds will be spent on the basics. Food, clothing, and housing. Minus the things in her backpack that she took when evacuating the island.
4) The campaign is connected directly to Christine's bank account. She is able to withdraw funds while in the Caribbean using this account. I have no access to this account or access to any of the money that is raised.
- Ella Turenne
- Jamie Werner
- Casilda Ajenjo-McBride
- Ken and Kristen Nivison
- Caroline Nivison